Trimming Type 4 Natural Hair

Have you ever gotten a big chop or cut your hair?

I’ve shaved off all my hair or cut a portion of it in my younger days. For some people, trimming their natural hair sounds like they are about to chop it all off. At least that is what my friend thought when I told her I’d gone to get a trim the other day. She couldn’t fathom why I would do that. She then went on to ask me some healthy hair practices I can recommend. When I said trimming, that’s when she decided that I’m not the best person to ask because she wasn’t going to be cutting her hair. I tried to explain that trimming isn’t cutting your hair short but my plea fell on deaf ears. Some natural sisters and brothers share this school of thought. Today, we get to demystify it a bit before seeing one way of trimming type 4 natural hair.

What is Trimming Natural Hair?

The process involves cutting off a small portion of your ends. The amount that you will cut off depends on how damaged your ends are. If the damage has traveled further up your hair shaft, you will end up cutting off more. So, for those who are afraid of trimming because they might lose a few inches of hair, please understand that you will eventually end up with damaged and unhealthy hair. Growth will be stunted and you will struggle with length retention.

Trimming Natural Hair Benefits

When you trim your hair, you get to enjoy some benefits:

  • While it doesn’t affect the growth rate from the root, trimming natural hair for growth focuses on length retention. Trimming helps promote healthier ends which don’t break easily.
  • Trimming gets rid of single strand knots and split ends. This makes detangling easier.
  • Damaged end become wispy and weigh your hair down. This makes it appear thinner and less voluminous. Trimming your hair gets rid of these ends so you end up with more volume.
  • With trimming, your ends enjoy better definition and less frizz when you style your hair in twist outs, bantu knots, flexirods and other rod sets.

You can also read about the benefits on this post.

How to Trim Natural Hair

Last year, I did this post on trimming dry natural hair without using heat. I did a step-by-step pictorial on how I trim my hair at home. DIY solutions are cost effective but may carry major consequences if they aren’t done correctly. For example, in the last post, I insisted on not trimming natural hair with regular scissors because it causes more damage. So, please be careful.

This year, in place of trimming natural hair at home, I opted to get it trimmed at a Urban Studio, a hair salon in Nairobi. I wanted my hair straightened then trimmed (as I have seen in many videos) but James (the professional) advised against it. He explained that trimming natural hair while wet is the best. You get to see your hair’s design line, that is, the natural curve it forms towards the ends. With proper detangling and combing, you can see where the hair arches and the ends start to become transparent. This is where you need to cut. He also pointed out that this is the longer but more effective route when trimming your hair. I found this information eye-opening and refreshing! For a more detailed process, check out the video on my YouTube Channel.

Getting my hair trimmed professionally

When to Trim Natural Hair

I used to think that trimming natural hair once a year was enough. However, I realized that this wasn’t enough for me. My hair needed a second trim a few months later. some people recommend trimming your natural hair once every six months. I hold a different opinion. I believe that I need to trim my hair as the need arises. This is because type 4 natural hair is different. What works for someone may not work for you. additionally, the way you treat your hair determines how often you need to trim it. if you tend to manipulate it often, leave it open or use heat regularly, you might need a trim every four months. However, if you keep your hair in low manipulation protective styles, you might actually end up needing only one or two trims in a year. the trick is to recognize the signals your hair sends.

Some of the signs that you need to trim your natural hair include:

1. Damaged Ends

If you have a lot of single strand knots and split ends, you definitely need to trim your hair. these make it harder to detangle and lead to breakage.

2. Less Volume

If your hair starts looking less voluminous than it used to, it could be a sign that you need a trim. Limp ends weigh down your hair and make it appear thinner.

3. Disappointing Frizzy Styling Results

If you start noticing that it’s getting harder to tame your ends while doing curly hairstyles such as roller sets or twist outs, it could be a sign that those ends need some dusting.


You need to trim your hair periodically to keep it healthy. With the tips above, you can tell when your hair needs some trimming. If you don’t know how to do it or fear that you might mess up, look for a professional to do it. Anyone who is in Nairobi can check out Urban Hair Studio. They are at Prestige Plaza, Ngong Road and Barclays Plaza in the CBD. If you prefer to have James (he’s super awesome) do it, you can contact him through his profile.

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2 thoughts on “Trimming Type 4 Natural Hair”

    1. Hi Grace.
      In my opinion, yes and no. Yes, if they are faux dreads so they protect your ends AND if they are gentle on your roots. No, if they are regular dreads because your ends and roots can still be exposed.

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